In the past week, KSL and the Salt Lake Tribune published articles that continued an on-going pattern of false and malicious reporting against law abiding citizens who they suspect to be members of the Davis County Cooperative Society, also known as the Co-op.
On August 2nd 2019, Nate Carlisle with the Salt Lake Tribune published an article titled “Utah eye clinic is not owned by members of a polygamous sect, but the building is, and it may be hurting business” The opening caption of the article reads “Rocky Mountain Eye Care Associates' David Petersen still hopes he and his associates can buy the building, owned by members of the Kingston Group who pleaded guilty to fraud, and leave their troubled landlords behind.”
However, no owners or corporate officers of Rocky Mountain Eye Center LLC have plead guilty to anything, let alone fraud. To date, there are no current or pending charges or cases against any of the owners. In the article, Carlisle states his suspicion that some of the owners are members of the Co-op and uses this as license to harass and make false claims against law abiding citizens.
On Monday August 5th, Shaun Freeman, a representative for Rocky Mountain Eye Center LLC, released a statement:
“No owners of Rocky Mountain Eye Center LLC have plead guilty to fraud. Our corporation is not and has never been affiliated with the Washakie Renewable Energy case or the defendants who have plead guilty. We intend to use any legal means available to challenge any assertion to the contrary.”
In a different arena, on August 5th 2019, 14 months after the initial search warrants were executed on Xtreme Pawn, a sole arrest was made of mid-level manager, John Jones, 40, who was charged with 8 felonies related to receiving stolen items. He has not yet entered a plea.
However, on August 6th 2019, Carlisle and the Tribune released an article titled “Pawnshop boss directed thieves to steal new tools, vacuums, gift cards, Utah prosecutors say” The opening caption reads “The Utah attorney general and several police agencies executed seven search warrants on pawnshops owned by the polygamous Kingston Clan on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. No one was arrested.”
The pawnshops in question are not owned by some inconspicuous “Clan” but law abiding citizens and the individual prosecutors have alleged to be engaged in racketeering is a mid-level manager not the “Pawnshop boss”. Again, Carlisle is quick to point out his suspicion that owners have connections to the Co-op.
On the same day as the Tribune report, KSL released an article titled “Utah pawn shop owner charged with buying obviously stolen items” Along the same lines as Carlisle at the Tribune, Pat Reavey with KSL falsely reports “pawn shop owner charged” when as of this publication, no owners of Xtreme Pawn have been charged with any crime.
These are just the latest examples in an ongoing pattern of false and discriminatory reporting against law abiding citizens by local news outlets.
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